New Workington Reds boss Danny Grainger says the night before his first pre-season session as manager was like Christmas Eve.

Reds are building towards their opening friendly against Whitehaven AFC for the Shaun Hocking Memorial Trophy next Thursday, when the manager will see his new-look team in action for the first time.

“It was kind of like Christmas Eve the other night,” Grainger said. “I’ve been waiting for a long time for it to come.

“I can’t wait for next week to get to the first game and then work on the training ground, making sure that we’re ready for August.

“I’m quite lucky Lee [Fearn] our fitness coach is very clued up so he’ll know when we can give them a bit of a beasting and some nights they’ll get a bit of a rest night.

“He’s very good at what he does and Gaz [player/coach Gari Rowntree], myself and Ruddy [assistant manager Steve Rudd] will dip in with our own bits as well.”

It has been a change of scenery in more ways than one for the 32-year-old, who made the move from Carlisle United to Reds at the same time as he hung up his boots as a professional player last month.

“Obviously it’s completely different to what I’m used to,” he said. “I went away on holiday for two weeks, didn’t have to run or anything like that, I was just concentrating on trying to ensure that we put the pre-season together.

“It was very different but again it was something I’ve absolutely loved because it’s what I’ve wanted to do for a good few years now.”

This week Grainger added former Queen of the South midfielder Owen Bell to his midfield and he linked up with his team-mates for a two-hour workout at the boss’s Cumbria Football Academy in Penrith on Tuesday.

“The boys are in fantastic condition. I’m really happy with how they’ve done on the first night,” he said. “They seemed to really have a go at it which is what I wanted and their attitude was fantastic towards what was a tough session.”